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A cell phone for Japan-US-where to start?

A cell phone for Japan-US-where to start?

Feb 22nd, 2005, 03:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 82
A cell phone for Japan-US-where to start?

My husband will be traveling to Japan for 6 months...ideally we'd like for him to be able to call home and we call him on the cell phone, but we know nothing about how much this costs. He won't have a lot of time to shop once he gets there, so we thought we'd need to have everything figured out now.

Should we buy a cell phone in the US for his use there? If so, what kind? What's most reliable and cheapest? Should he wait until he gets there and try to find one there? He speaks no Japanese, if that's relevant.

Any advice or primers on international cell phone use would be appreciated. Thank you!
Nosy is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2005, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,161

Only help that I can offer is that ANA has special offers for cell phones for their customers. Go to www.fly-ana.com and click on Fares/Offers, click on Special Offers, click on Search. Scroll down and you will see two free cell phone offers. The second one might work for you.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2005, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 682
My husband travels to Japan on business. He tells me that you cannot buy a phone in the US that will work in Japan. Instead, your husband will need to pick up the phone in Japan.

At the airport in Tokyo, as he goes through customs/immigration and enters the arrivals hall, he should walk to the left and go to the end of the hall by the luggage delivery services. There is a company there called Cosmo Rental Phone. They will be able to set your husband up with a phone for the duration of his stay. The cost varies by the plan that you select.

If his company is paying for it, it may be cheaper for him to buy a phone when he gets there. Cosmo would be a good place to start, though.
Ericka is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 12:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
As mentioned above, Japan is on a different GSM system than the US and Europe and the rest of the world, so you have to buy a phone just for Japan. Given this, I would first have your husband ask his employer to rent or buy the phone, as it is an expense unique to Japan.

I would also suggest he waits until he gets there to get a phone, as his company may have a phone he can use, or may have an arrangement with a Japanese phone company already set up. If not, he can rent a phone, or have his office help him buy a phone and either set up a local plan or get a pre-paid SIM chip to put into the phone. (It is my understanding that you have to have a residents card to buy a phone in Japan, I am not sure your husband will have one based on his short stay, his office can advise.) He should not have any problem with the language, although the printed instructions for the phone may be in Japanese; he should be able to go on-line and get an English version. The phone itself should have several language options, including English. I think Nokia phones are great, but Japanese brands would be fine as well I am sure.

If he has to obtain his own phone, I donít think I would rent at the airport, as you may end up paying more. I would have him wait until he is settled in and someone in his office can advise him as to the best place and can even go with him to assist. (I have lived overseas for 15 years and having a local give you help on things like this is invaluable.)

Finally, remember that the time difference between you two will be 12-15 hours depending on where you live in the US. You may not end up finding the cell phone to be any more convenient to call him, given the time difference, than calling on a land line to his office or apartment/ hotel.

Cicerone is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 04:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,322
Don't rent a phone at the airport as the cost for a 6-month stay will be too high. Japan uses a form of CDMA incompatible with any other system used elsewhere, and expanding 3G service that can be roamed on if you have a 3G phone and service in your country (Verizon US and others). Roaming charges will be very high. The best solution is for your husband to visit a convenience store (there are 1000's) and buy a pay-as-you-go phone (called prepaid keitai). It'd probably be best to go with a Japanese speaker, as ID has to be shown and registration card filled in at the point of sale. I personally use Vodafone Enjorno phone, which costs from just under 5,000 yen ($48) plus top-up card at 3,000 or 5,000 yen. Calling locally is 60 yen/min and US from 70 yen/min (67 cents) and nothing to receive (you just pay cellphone rate for Japan). http://www.vodafone.jp/english/products/index.html an click 'Prepaid Mobile Phones'.
Alec is offline  

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